Massachusetts minimum wage increase tied to corporate tax decrease

3/21/2014, 6 a.m.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives is able to move forward with minimum wage increases now that businesses have been given a tax break.

The Massachusetts House Speaker, Robert DeLeo, was widely quoted at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce meeting last week as making this minimum wage increase contingent upon a decrease in the amount the Commonwealth requires businesses to pay for unemployment insurance.

The House is moving forward on legislation raising the state minimum wage. Unlike the bill approved by the state Senate last year describing an $11 hourly minimum wage by 2016, this bill proposes $10.50 hourly. Also, unlike the Senate bill, the current state House bill does not include annual inflation-indexed cost-of-living wage increases after 2016.

Labor advocates continue to move forward on a ballot petition to have the voters decide next fall on the minimum wage issue. The petition calls for $10.50 hourly by 2016 and annual increases for inflation thereafter, and also seeks an increase in tipped wages from the current $2.63 per hour to $6.30 per hour by 2016. Speaker DeLeo proposes that tipped wages be $3.75 by 2016.

Minimum wage in Massachusetts is $8 per hour, and automatically rises by 10 cents above the Fair Labor Standards Act if federal minimum wage equals or exceeds the state minimum wage.